At 15 weeks of pregnancy, unborn babies suck their thumbs and yawn. Their hearts pump about 26 quarts of blood every day. They even show a preference for their right or left hand.
But U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein implied this week that unborn babies at this stage are not human yet, according to Fox News.
A leading Democrat from California, Feinstein was approached about abortion as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a case involving a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.
When asked if a “fetus at 15 weeks is a human being,” Feinstein responded in a convoluted way.
“Of course a human being is life, and you do not have life,” she said. “And so, I think it’s up to others other than me, but I basically believe that women should have the right within certain legal restraints to prevent those situations, which can be prevented – which can be very difficult.”
Feinstein also said she has been a steadfast supporter of Roe v. Wade for decades, and she supports a “woman’s right to choose.”
LifeNews is on GETTR. Please follow us for the latest pro-life news
Later, her communications director, Tom Mentzer, disputed the Fox News report, saying it is merely their “interpretation” that she does not believe an unborn baby at 15 weeks is a human being. However, he did not actually confirm or deny that that is what Feinstein believes.
Beliefs aside, the science is clear that unborn babies are unique, living human beings from the moment of conception, separate from the mother with their own specific DNA.
By 15 weeks, unborn babies already are nearly fully developed. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, unborn babies have every major organ at this stage, and most are functional. The heart, for example, pumps about 26 quarts of blood each day.
On ultrasound screens, parents often see their 15-week unborn babies sucking their thumbs, smiling or yawning, and scientists have observed that they already show a preference for their right or left hand.
A growing body of research also indicates that unborn babies can feel intense pain by this point.
“If something touches the palm of the baby’s hand, the baby will bend his or her fingers as if to grasp the object,” according to research by Katrina Furth, Ph.D., a CLI associate scholar and neuroscientist. “Neurotransmitters specific to pain processing appear between 10 and 14 weeks’ gestation. The spinal nerves needed to transmit pain to the thalamus have formed by 15 weeks’ gestation.”
Most people across the world recognize that unborn babies are valuable human beings at least by 15 weeks of pregnancy, if not earlier. Laws in most countries reflect this by prohibiting or strongly restricting abortions after the first trimester. The United States is an outlier because Roe v. Wade allows elective abortions for any reason up to birth and prohibits states from protecting unborn babies from abortion before viability, about 22 weeks.
Polls show that Americans support protections for unborn babies by 15 weeks, too. A recent Associated Press poll found that a strong majority of Americans oppose abortions in the second and third trimesters; and other polls show support heartbeat laws that protect unborn babies at their earliest stage of life.
The Supreme Court is considering whether to allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion again in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Lawyers for the state of Mississippi asked the high court to overturn Roe v. Wade or, at the very least, allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion by 15 weeks.
A ruling is expected sometime next year, likely in June 2022.